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Westside Watch

A Day for Purple Wigs, Pink Buses and Tolerance

June 29, 1995

As any experienced parade-goer will tell you, there are two things to always remember:

Be prepared for anything.

And once you get a good spot, never give it up. No matter what.

So risking a ticket, and ready for rain, this parade watcher joined a huge crowd on hand for Sunday's 25th annual Gay and Lesbian Pride Celebration in West Hollywood.

Thousands of revelers, some in high heels, sequins, leather collars and purple wigs, came to celebrate their once-a-year chance at commemorating gay freedom.

The Gay Seventh-day Adventists rode proudly on a flatbed truck. A pink "Priscilla Queen of the Desert" bus--packed with transvestites--moved forward in fits and starts. And a mother in a group of parents with gay sons and lesbian daughters held up a sign that read: "My son and I have one thing in common, the same taste in men."

With warm temperatures and a crowd exceeding 200,000, the event went off with hardly a hitch. In all, only 10 people were arrested on the day of the parade, almost all of them for public drunkenness.

One sign showing a wanly smiling Sen. Jesse Helms (R-N.C.) got more than a few laughs. The senator, who recently warned President Bill Clinton about visiting North Carolina, was pictured with a red dot on his forehead and the caption: "Jesse, don't even THINK about coming to West Hollywood without bodyguards."

One spectator took issue with the homemade poster.

"Helms is a jerk, but I wouldn't want to think we're as closed-minded as he is," said Joseph Onesta, a North Hollywood resident. "The wonderful thing about the gay community is that we are open and accepting. Just look around. There's old, young, fat, thin, every color, race and religion."

*

GOOD FORTUNE?: It is not exactly a straw poll, but former GOP congressional candidate Rich Sybert saw great significance in what he found in his fortune cookie during a recent meal at the Scallions, a dim sum restaurant in Westwood.

"You are interested in public service," one fortune said.

"You will soon be involved in many gatherings and parties," said the other.

Neither message explicitly said Sybert would oust Rep. Anthony C. Beilenson (D-Woodland Hills) during his planned rematch in 1996 to represent the 24th Congressional District, but Sybert nonetheless regarded the fortunes as a good omen.

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